SNP deputy leader backs ‘shoot to kill’

Stewart Hosie . Picture: Greg Macvean
Stewart Hosie . Picture: Greg Macvean
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The deputy leader of the SNP has backed the police’s right to “shoot to kill” in the event of a terrorist attack.

Stewart Hosie told BBC Radio Scotland that police officers had to be trusted to take the “necessary action” when faced with someone posing a “real and immediate risk”.

Earlier this week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “not happy” with the shoot to kill policy.

However, St later told his party’s ruling executive committee that he supported any “strictly necessary force” to deal with a terrorist attack.

Mr Hosie said: “I think if a terrorist runs down Sauciehall Street, good forbid, or Whitehall with a Kalashnikov and a police officer has a split-second decision to make, then the choice in terms of public safety is very clear.

“I don’t think I would take the Jeremy Corbyn line on this. If someone is posing a real and immediate risk to many hundreds or thousands of people, then of course one needs to trust the police to take the necessary action.”

But Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said the use of the term “shoot to kill” was “particulary unhelpful”.

He said: “This language about shoot to kill is something which is particularly unhelpful. It raises tensions and brings additional, unneccesary emotion into what is by any measure a difficult topic.”

He said the notion that politicians could decide when police officers should and shouldn’t use lethal force was not “particularly reassuring”.

He added: “Fewer than two per cent of the police service in Scotland is armed. They are highly skilled and highly trained - we should allow them to use their professional judgement without interference from politicians.”